If you want a rockin’ sex life, you need to express yourself.
Sex can be a difficult, sensitive or taboo subject because we’ve witnessed so little real-life positive modelling around it. But we can develop confidence around sexual communication when we know how to approach it and we practise it often enough for it to become a skill. That’s why we need to start open and honest conversations about sex. Ultimately, people who talk about sex are more likely to have better sex.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
You may wonder if talking takes away romance or spontaneity because your partner should ideally know what you want. You’re probably thinking, “must I resort to bringing up a problem in the bedroom or asking for a sexual request?”
But, here’s another way of looking at it: life is too short to be waiting, hoping, pining and being resentful. If you don’t communicate, your partner might end up second-guessing themselves. They might feel pressured and be unwilling to try anything new for fear of negative repercussions.
Why do we need the sex talk?
- Our sexual needs, wants and desires change.
- We each have unique sexual likes and dislikes – and we need to navigate the differences in ways that feel positive for both sides.
- We shouldn’t assume that what has worked in the past will always feel good.
- Our bodies go through changes after pregnancy, giving birth, ageing, menopause and illness.
- When we give each other feedback, for example, we can adjust our touch according to the intensity, pressure and rhythm our partner prefers.
- We need consent to try new things and explore the unknown.
- Sex is a co-creation of safety, adventure and play.
Got problems in the bedroom? 4 sex scenarios and tips on what to do
1. “I didn’t get the reaction I wanted…”
Not everyone likes surprises sprung on them, and not everyone can get an instant erection from their partner wearing lingerie. The pressure of sex can actually be a turn-off.
What to do: Don’t blindside your partner and don’t take everything personally. It’s not always something you did or didn’t do. Ask your partner how they’d like to be approached and touched. But, don’t do it right after sex because you don’t want your partner to think you’re nitpicking on what just happened.
2. “It could be better if…”
Sometimes, you may hesitate to ask for what you want because you’re fearful of hurting your partner. But if you don’t speak up, you might suffer in pain, start to dread having sex, or become exasperated with your partner.
What to do: Reframe the thought of keeping quiet to spare their feelings. When you speak up, you’re actually becoming closer to your partner by expressing your emotions and thoughts. Instead of complaining, “that’s wrong” or “ouch” (only speaking up when you’re in pain), try suggesting, “how about this” or “I wonder how it would feel if we did this”. Remember, your tone matters because your partner will probably feel vulnerable and inadequate when you touch on such sensitive topics.
3. “I don’t know how to start talking about sex…”
Perhaps you have intimacy issues but you aren’t sure about the time, place and manner to approach the subject. After all, you don’t want your partner to feel rejected, upset or sad that you’re disappointed with your sex life.
What to do: Instead of avoiding the issue or playing the blame game, come at it from a place of love. Make talking about sex light-hearted by finding a time and place that’s neutral, and do it when you’re relaxed – because energy is contagious.
A question like, “how was it for you?” after sex can kickstart the conversation. Or when you’re out on a date night, you can say, “I’m feeling shy saying this, but I wanted to talk about the other day when we had sex. I’ve been thinking about how amazing that was. Can we try more of that?” Think of the sandwich approach – put negative feedback in between positive encouragement so your partner knows you appreciate them.
4. “I wonder what my partner wants out of our sex life…”
We want to please our partners, but how can we do that if we don’t know what they like, want or desire? They may have their own frustrations that they haven’t dared to voice out.
What to do: Instead of viewing discussing your sexual desires as one big conversation, think of it as unfolding with layers and innuendoes. It helps to keep an open mind, not be judgmental, and understand both perspectives. Conversation starters can include: “What does good sex mean to you?”, “What are you into sexually?”, “Is there something you’ve always wanted to do in bed but never had the chance to try?” or “Would you like to try that with me?”
We all know communication in a relationship is important. Sweeping your feelings under the rug won’t change a thing, so take these tips and go forth with confidence to talk about sex and get what you really want in the bedroom.